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Devils GM still eyeing goaltending after coaching change, not shopping Toffoli

Nico Daws Nico Daws - Getty Images

New Jersey Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald confirmed Tuesday he is continuing to look for an upgrade at goaltender following Monday's coaching change.

The Devils fired head coach Lindy Ruff on Monday with a 30-27-4 record this season. Former Vancouver Canucks bench boss Travis Green was named interim head coach for the remainder of the season. 

"Our goaltending has not been good enough,'' Fitzgerald told reporters Tuesday,.

"The standards have not been met. That’s for sure. For many reasons," he added later. 

The Devils have been linked to Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom for nearly month as the team has pursued an upgrade. 

On Friday, TSN Hockey Insider LeBrun reported the Devils have re-engaged with the Flames on Markstrom and are now willing to make a deal without the Flames having to retain salary, which was thought to be a “sticking point” in previous talks.

However, LeBrun added Friday in The Athletic that even with the Devils now willing to take on all of Markstrom’s contract – he carries a cap hit of $6 million through the 2025-26 season – trading him could be a difficult decision for Flames general manager Craig Conroy. LeBrun wrote Monday that Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark could also be an option for the Devils if they cannot land Markstrom. 

Markstrom, 34, is 21-16-2 this season with a goals-against average of 2.61 and a .912 save percentage. 

The 30-year-old Ullmark has a 16-7-6 record with a .910 save percentage and a 2.77 goals-against average this season. Signed through next season at a $5 million cap hit,  he went 40-6-1 as Boston's starter last season. 

The Devils are eight points back of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference as they've leaned largely on Nico Daws, who's started 10 of their past 11 games.

Daws, 23, has an 8-10-0 with a .887 save percentage and a 3.47 GAA this season. 

Vitek Vanecek has seen the majority of starts this season, but remains on injured reserve with a lower-body injury suffered on Feb. 10. The 28-year-old has a 17-9-3 record this season with a .890 save percentage and a 3.18 GAA. 


Fitzgerald: Not shopping Toffoli

While there has been speculation on winger Tyler Toffoli, Fitzgerald said Tuesday he's not looking to moved the pending unrestricted free agent.

"I'm not shopping Tyler Toffoli," he told reporters

Toffoli surged to No. 13 on the TSN Trade Bait board this week as the Devils have struggled to keep up in the playoff race.

The 31-year-old forward has 25 goals and 42 points in 58 games this season as he carries a cap hit of $4.25 million. He was acquired by the Devils last summer from the Calgary Flames in exchange for Yegor Sharangovich and a third-round draft pick.